Latitude: -045 42.837 Longitude: 165.40.962
How do we spend our time whilst we await the next step in our highly anticipated adventure? Well, everyone has their own ways to past the time and not lose their minds. Hi! My name is Candace Grimes, and I am postdoctoral researcher at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Several of us have hobbies that we have brought on board to work on while in isolation, whether it be paint-by-number, crocheting, reading novels, etc. I for one learned how to knit in the last few months before we headed out for this mission, and between our isolation at home in the states and in the hotel in New Zealand, I am getting a lot better at it! I did not know much about knitting before last summer, but I am so happy that I have started it now. We all become very proud of our products (Images below of a washcloth I knitted and a BEAUTIFUL sea turtle that Nusrat crocheted). Another one of my hobbies is coming up with side projects and they can either be related to my main goals or not, but it is always fun to brainstorm for new ideas. We are very lucky in our positions to thoroughly enjoy what we do, and I am grateful for that every day. Due to COVID protocols, it has been difficult for us to do activities together, but once the masks come off, we are able to organize Smash Brother’s, Mario Kart, Cornhole, and basketball tournaments. There is always something going on and something to do while we anxiously await the arrival of our first samples.
A little more about me and what I do though:
During my postdoc, I have been working on the genomic adaptions of brittle stars that we find down in Antarctica. There are SO many of them! We are in the process of analyzing new whole genome sequences from a widespread brittle star, Astrotoma agassizii, in the Southern Ocean. Although I have been working on brittle stars in recent years, my heart lies with the worms. Marine annelid worms that is. I spent years studying the tropical to temperate bearded fireworm, Hermodice carunculata, and I have recently been able to investigate deep-sea annelids from the Aleutian Trench. I had no idea the diversity and abundance of worms that we would find in the Antarctic though until the last cruise. Let me tell you, to say that I was pleasantly surprised would be the understatement of the decade. Seeing worms swim, crawl, burrow, and feed from this remote locale is such an incredible experience, and I am grateful for it every day. Thank you for checking out our blog and following along us as we head off to Antarctica!
Dr. Candace Grimes
University of North Carolina Wilmington